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HomeTeam Hot List: Pinellas hosts two big swim meets

One of the area’s top volleyball tournaments, the Berkeley Premier, also starts this weekend.
Clearwater Academy International's Ajou Ajou makes a reception while working through a passing drill in April. CAI faces American Collegiate on Friday. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published Sep. 16

A closer look at some of the high school events worth checking out this week:

Girls golf, Mustang Invitational

Noon, Thursday at East Bay GC. The tournament has shifted from Seminole Lake Country Club to East Bay CC in Largo. The teams are Northside Christian, Palm Harbor University, Canterbury, Shorecrest, Clearwater Central Catholic, Largo, Wiregrass Ranch, Osceola, Mitchell and Fort Lauderdale Archbishop McCarthy.

Volleyball, Berkeley Premier

Friday-Saturday. One of the bigger regular-season tournaments in the area. There are 16 teams in four pools. Local teams include Bishop McLaughlin, Clearwater Central Catholic, Berkeley Prep, Palm Harbor University, Academy of the Holy Names and Calvary Christian. Action starts at 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday.

MORE PREP SPORTS: HomeTeam 15: Football rankings for Tampa Bay

Swimming, Pinellas County Athletic Conference Championships

Friday-Saturday at the Long Center. Diving starts at 10 a.m. Friday. The swimming portion of the meet starts at 8 a.m. Saturday with the preliminaries, followed by the finals at 5 p.m. Palm Harbor University, which has the most depth among public schools in the county, is favored to repeat as the boys and girls champions.

Berkeley Prep's Isabela Arcila powers through the breaststroke portion of the 200 IM at last year's Class A, District 7 meet. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]

Swimming, Tampa Bay Classic

Friday at Berkeley Prep and Saturday at North Shore Pool. Diving starts at 4 p.m. Friday. The swimming portion starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the finals at 5 p.m. There are two titles at stake — one for the meet and another for the Bay Conference, which includes mostly smaller private schools in the area. Berkeley, which will be returning from Jacksonville on Friday, always is a contender for the boys and girls trophies.

Football, Steinbrenner at Hillsborough

7:30 p.m. Friday. Perhaps the best Hillsborough County game this week. The Warriors have not scored fewer than 41 points this season and have won all four games by at least 20. Hillsborough will be a big test. The Terriers’ lone loss was to undefeated Tampa Bay Tech.

MORE PREP SPORTS: Sunday Morning Quarterback: Accurate arms and stingy defenses

Football, Clearwater Academy vs. American Collegiate

7:30 p.m. Friday at Pinellas Park National Little League. This is a rare opportunity to watch the area’s two independent teams play. Both typically travel around the state — or nation — in search of games. There will be plenty of talent on the field, too. Clearwater Academy receiver Ajou Ajou has already committed to defending national champion Clemson. American Collegiate running back Keyvone Lee recently committed to Penn State.


  1. Tre'von Riggins, a University of Miami commit, has been a force for the Lakewood defense since he transferred from IMG Academy. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    The “Duke Energy Boys” have helped drive an unbeaten season, not giving up a touchdown in seven games.
  2. Mitchell quarterback Ezra Brennan has already surpassed 2,000 yards passing this season. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
    The learning curve isn’t too steep for the first-year Mustangs starter, whose unflappable nature can be traced to the other sport he excels in — baseball.
  3. Indiana wide receiver Whop Philyor of Plant High makes a move around Northwestern defensive lineman Joe Gaziano on Nov. 2  in Bloomington, Ind. Indiana won 34-3. DOUG MCSCHOOLER  |  AP
    Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota have become feel-good stories in college football this season, with coaches and players who have roots locally.
  4. Clearwater Central Catholic's Zac Elam says that one of the offensive line's strengths is that "we’re really close as a group." DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
    While often inconspicuous, the Marauders’ offensive line knows its value this season.
  5. Nature Coast's Dedric Hall does a little bit of everything for the Sharks, which is why they're in the second round of the playoffs. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    The junior can burn you in the running game. He’s nifty in the passing game. And if you’re not careful, he’ll pick off your quarterback, too.
  6. Admiral Farragut's Martel Mott takes off after intercepting a pass by Cambridge Christian's Titan Williamson during the teams' Sept. 13 regular-season matchup. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    One thing is certain in the playoffs under the new format: rematches from the regular season.
  7. Not only is Riverview's Alyssa Hendrix a two-times state champ in cross country, but her latest title follows two earlier this year in state track. Hendrix, pictured here from the spring, won the 3,200- and 1,600-meter titles in May. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The final tally: Two individual champs, three team champs and a host of individual medalists.
  8. Clearwater Central Catholic’s Jordan Niles, right, hugs Calvary Christian’s Richie Ilarraza after the Marauders’ playoff win. Niles is a former Calvary player. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    Sunday Morning QB: Clearwater Central Catholic, Steinbrenner and Chamberlain are just a few of the standouts in the region quarterfinals.
  9. Plant senior Birdie Frierson, here in a match earlier this postseason, says on Saturday the Panthers "were just a little bit off. The serves were just a little bit off. The sets were just a little bit off. Nothing felt like ‘This is it. This is our point.’ It was that kind of day.” SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    Both Tampa teams sustain road losses in the state semifinals.
  10. The region quarterfinals started Friday night for teams around Tampa Bay. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
    The Packers, missing a few playmakers while a few more take their lumps Friday, shut out Countryside.